Lawrenceville, GA— Trial is set to begin next week against AMC Networks and others involved in the TV series The Walking Dead over the 2017 death of a stuntman on the show. Bernecker v. Stalwart Films, LLC, et al., 18-C-00435-S1.
John Bernecker, 33, died in a 20-plus-foot fall from a balcony while filming an episode of The Walking Dead, a zombie apocalypse series filmed in Georgia. His parents, Susan and Hagen Bernecker, contend AMC and others responsible for the series failed to provide adequate and appropriately placed safety equipment and did not properly support the stunt, according to documents in the case. They contend the lack of safety equipment was part of-cost-cutting measures on the show. Meanwhile, they argue actor Austin Amelio, with whom Bernecker was working, unexpectedly pushed Bernecker during the stunt.
The defense counters that Amelio never touched Bernecker. And they argue that Bernecker assumed the risk of the stunt and failed to perform the fall as planned, which they contend ultimately caused his death. They claim pads were placed where Bernecker specified, but that he unexpectedly grabbed a railing during the stunt, altering the path of his fall.
Last year, OSHA fined production company Stalwart Films more than $12,000 for the accident, according to reports. Stalwart is among the defendants at trial.
Bernecker was a veteran stuntman with a host of film credits, including The Hunger Games: Mockingjay and Black Panther.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys in the case include Jeffrey Harris of Harris Lowry Manton and Pete Law of Law & Moran.
Attorneys for the defense include Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial’s Jackson Dial, David Dial, Joshua Wood and Kevin Williams, among others.
CVN is set to record and stream the trial in Gwinnett County State Court, with Judge Emily Brantley presiding.
Email Arlin Crisco at firstname.lastname@example.org.